The Bournemouth Air Show 2011

The mixed feeling of emotion as Bournemouth makes national news twice in one air festival. Before I start many of you are aware that on Saturday 20th August flight Lieutenant Jon Egging of the Royal Air Force Aerobatics Team, The Red Arrows died on the way back after performing at the festival. He steered his plane away from houses to cause as little damage as possible, leaving him less time to eject himself from his plane meaning he risked his life for others. He is a real hero and I am sure that I speak on behalf of the whole of Britain when I say that we are deeply saddened by this loss and have the Red Arrows and his family in our thoughts.

The festival experienced deep emotions this year. On day one Bournemouth was heading towards rain, but no-one could of predicted the storm that came. The festival was cancelled for the day as rain hammered over the town. Working in an office at the time which overlooked the gardens I witnessed first hand the damage caused from the storm. The banks of the stream in the gardens completely drowned the landscapes, drains collapsed and were overflowing with water and the tarmaced roads bursts by the bus stops as the sewers exploded underneath the roads. It was complete chaos. Basements all over Bournemouth were flooded destroying lots of stock and loads of police tape covered the streets. Bournemouth made national news and people had their fingers crossed for Friday.

Friday ran pretty smoothly. From pier to pier stalls held all sorts of entertainment. The Royal Air Force had tanks, helicopters, where children could get inside and get a feel for the forces. A Daily Mail double decker bus was there, ale trucks, rollercoaster rides, and lots of different freebies to keep people entertained. Speakers had been temporarily hooked up all along the beach right up into the gardens so people could hear the running commentary of each plane. The red arrows flew at 2 o'clock and I was lucky enough to see them from the top floor in our office which overlooks the beach front. They were wonderful, and I always get the impression that Britain loves the Red Arrows very much. We hold a tremedous ammount of pride with them. They wowed us with their routine and finished with drawing a red love heart with a bow running through it. Evening brought the hot air balloons down on the beach.

On Saturday the air festival went ahead as planned, however I was at home writing. I say this because I feel I had a slightly different experience of the show, even though I was not physically present. As the day goes by you hear the different types of planes whizz around your houses and it is a very odd sensation. It feels as though there could be war going on or something...

As I was writing, the Red Arrows came, and the people inside the house I was in went outside onto their road to look at them. As I listened more people came out of their houses and were looking up too and I could hear people talking to each other saying wow, they are amazing arent they?They're so loud!! And I got a really warm feeling about the festival thinking how nice it was that the community was coming out even if they werent at the actual event.

Later that evening, the terrible news came about Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging. People listened intently towards news and were shocked and deeply saddened to hear that he had died. We all watched the news and without sounding too cheesy it really did feel like the town was mourning a little. There was a very strange atmosphere in Bournemouth, and it really felt like he was in everybodys thoughts. Bournemouth Borough Council released a statement which you can read on the website I will give at the end to all those interested.

Sunday morning Facebook was reposting this message "Anybody going to the air show tomorrow please wear something red to show your support for the brave red arrows! Lets make Bournemouth a sea of red!! Please re post.."

And so they did. I walked up to the festival on Sunday afternoon and so many people were wearing red. It was a lovely sight. The Red Arrows had made the right decision not to fly, and Miss Demenour and the Sea Vixen danced around the sky instead. There was a sombre atmosphere and it was nice to see people coming together. A book of condolence was set up at the town hall and thousands came to sign it and pay tribute to the fantastic pilot - the book will be given to his family.

You can check out the planes on the official website at where they have a full list of planes and goings on.

The planes that fly at the festival bring something for everyone from different helicopters, to hot air baloons to planes which commemorate the battles of Britain, it does bring people together to certain extent. People talk and share stories of the war, and people ooh and ahh at the loud planes that crash sound barriers. You can work out your Spitfires from your Eurofighters, to Vulcans from your Lancaster bombers. As the years go on I learn a bit more about our planes and I tend to look forward to it. It is a wonderful event to attend but I think this year has really made the locals question what the prices we pay for our entertainment.
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